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March 24, 2020

Brood II Magicicada photos by Dani Siddle from Brood II, part 2

Filed under: Brood III | Dani Siddle | Magicicada — Tags: , — Dan @ 7:08 pm

Brood II Magicicada photos by Dani Siddle from Brood II, part 1. They were taken in the Malden-on-Hudson area of New York in 2013.

Skip to Part 1.

Mating Magicicada cassini:
Mating Magicicada cassini in Malden on Hudson NY by Dani Siddle

Mating Magicicada:
Mating Magicicada by Dani Siddle in Malden on Hudson NY

Magicicada viewed from the side:
Magicicada viewed from the side by Dani Siddle in Malden on Hudson NY

Magicicada septendecim:
Magicicada septendecim in Malden on Hudson NY by Dani Siddle

Magicicada septendecim:
Magicicada septendecim by Dani Siddle in Malden on Hudson NY

Magicicada on leaves:
Magicicada on leaves by Dani Siddle in Malden on Hudson NY

March 22, 2020

Lake County Forest Preserves Cicada Mania! Festival, part 4

Filed under: Brood XIII | Magicicada | Periodical — Tags: , — Dan @ 5:19 pm

Here are some photos from the Cicada Mania! Festival at the Lake County Forest Preserves at Ryerson Woods back in 2008 for the Brood XIII Magicicada emergence.

Skip to Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3.

Magicicada cicadas. Most, if now all are Magicicada septendecim:

Cicada on a leg. Lake County Forest Preserve outside of Chicago. Brood XIII. 2007.

Cicada on a hand. Lake County Forest Preserve outside of Chicago. Brood XIII. 2007.

Many Magicicada. Lake County Forest Preserve outside of Chicago. Brood XIII. 2007.

Many Magicicada. Lake County Forest Preserve outside of Chicago. Brood XIII. 2007.

Magicicada septendecim.

Updating Magicicada back at my hotel room (giant Alien Ware laptop):
Updating cicadamania.com

March 18, 2020

Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania Magicicada Emergence Gallery

Filed under: Brood V | Magicicada — Tags: — Dan @ 5:05 pm

Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania Magicicada Emergence Gallery.
These images are from 2016, Brood V.
Click/tap the image for a larger version.
Visit Gallery #2 as well.

A couple exit holes
A couple exit holes

A pair of septendecim
A pair of septendecim

Grasshopper and Cicada
Grasshopper and Cicada

Jim Thorpe Cicada Ovipositor Scars
Jim Thorpe Cicada Ovipositor Scars

Jim Thorpe Magicicada septendecim 1st instar nymph
Jim Thorpe Magicicada septendecim 1st instar nymph 2

Jim Thorpe Magicicada septendecim 1st instar nymph
Jim Thorpe Magicicada septendecim 1st instar nymph

Jim Thorpe Nymph
Jim Thorpe Nymph 01

Jim Thorpe Ovipositor Scars
Jim Thorpe Ovipositor Scars

Jim Thorpe septendecim
Jim Thorpe septendecim

Jim Thorpe Train
Jim Thorpe Train

Magicicada septendecim Jim Thorpe abs
Magicicada septendecim Jim Thorpe abs

Magicicada septendecim Jim Thorpe
Magicicada septendecim Jim Thorpe

Male Magicicada septendecim
Male Magicicada septedecim

Visit Gallery #2 as well.

March 8, 2020

Brood XIII cicada photos by Mark Muto

Filed under: Brood XIII | Eye Color | Magicicada — Tags: — Dan @ 10:04 am

Brood XIII cicada photos by Mark Muto, from 2007. Photos were taken in North Riverside, Illinois.

Magicicada nymph climbing on a tree branch:
Brood XIII cicada photos by Mark Muto, from 2007. Photos were taken in North Riverside, Illinois.

Magicicada septendecim (Pharaoh cicada):
Brood XIII cicada photos by Mark Muto, from 2007. Photos were taken in North Riverside, Illinois.

Two Magicicada, one with blue eyes:
Brood XIII cicada photos by Mark Muto, from 2007. Photos were taken in North Riverside, Illinois.

April 15, 2017

How do cicadas make sounds / noise

Filed under: Sounds — Tags: , — Dan @ 2:09 pm

Some people hear a cicada sing, and hear a beautiful song, while others hear an irritating noise. But how do they create the sounds?

Magicicada septendecim tymbal
The ridged organ in this photo is a tymbal, the organ male cicadas use to create their songs.

Cicadas make sounds in quite a few ways: with tymbal organs, wing flicks, wing clicks, and stridulations.

Male cicadas sing using their tymbals

tymbal animation
Muscles tug at it rapidly to create sound vibrations.

Cicadas are best known for the songs the male cicadas sing. They sing using special organs called tymbals. Tymbals are membranes that vibrate very quickly when pulled by tiny muscles. This vibration creates the cicada’s song. Some types of cicadas have exposed tymbals, like Magicicada or Zammara. Some species have hidden tymbals, like Neotibicen, and flex their abdomen to open their tymbal covers to modulate their song.

Each type of song made with tymbals has a different purpose:

  • Alarm/distress calls: “don’t eat me! something is eating me!”
  • Pre-calls: warming up
  • Calls to attract mates and establish a territory
  • Courting calls: calls made once a mate is found.
  • Choruses: when males synchronize their calls to establish chorusing centers and attract females.

Wing flicks and stridulations

Females and males of some species flick their wings to produce a sound similar to the flick of a wall switch. Females use wing flicks to respond to male courting calls, in the case of Magicicada periodical cicadas. Some males of other species use a combination of tymbal song and wing flicks.

Some species of cicadas lack tymbals, like cicadas belonging to the genus Platypedia. They use their wings to make crackling or popping noises known as crepitation. Amphipsalta zelandica of New Zealand use wing-clicks to communicate.

Stridulations: Some cicadas, like Australia’s Green Grocer, possess raspe-like parts of their bodies which when stroked with part of a wing produces yet another type of cicada sound. This type of sound is called a stridulation.

Cyclochila australasiae stridulatory structures

Tettigarcta vibrate the earth

Lastly, some species like those belonging to the genus Tettigarcta vibrate the substrate (soil, plant matter, etc) they live in, rather than vibrating the air.

June 25, 2016

My 2016 Brood V Experience

Filed under: Brood V | John Cooley | Magicicada | Matt Berger | Periodical — Tags: , , — Dan @ 11:20 am

Magicicada exuvia on an oak leaf_sm
Many exuvia clinging to oak leaves. Core Arboretum, WVU.

My plan was to check out Maryland first, then head to West Virginia for a few days, and then Ohio. If weather, time and patience allowed, Virginia and Long Island, New York. Like all my periodical cicada trips I start by consulting the map on Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org) to see where folks are finding cicadas. I also consult with the folks who study periodical cicadas professionally to discover their favorite hot spots and any locations of particular scientific interest. This year, the interesting spot was north-western Maryland — more on that later.

Generally speaking, you’ll see a lot of pin-drops for Magicicada cassini on the map. This is because you can hear them while driving at 70mph. You often have to stop your car and turn off the engine to hear the other species, so even though there’s lots of M. cassini on the map, there’s probably just as much M. septendecim. Generally speaking, my mapping methodology works like this: I stop and take notes when I can (usually at rest stops, parks or when I’m staying in a particular town — see Morgantown & Athens later in the article) and this is when I’ll hear M. septendecim & M. septendecula, but when I’m driving interstate highways at high speeds (with a parade of angry drivers who would rather tailgate me that use the left lane to go around me) I can only take data points for M. cassini.

What do I bring with me on a seven-day cicada road trip? Aside from clothes, road food, smartphone, and my AAA card, I bring equipment to aide my study of cicadas:

  • A junk computer. A decrepit laptop that I won’t care if it gets stolen.
  • A video camera.
  • A device for measuring sound level (decibels).
  • A notepad and pen (because technology fails).
  • Butterfly pavilions, which are these expandable enclosures for holding and observing insects.
  • Containers for holding dead specimens, and silica gel to keep them dry. Note: before you collect, make sure it is legal in the location you plan to collect. Collecting wildlife from National Parks is illegal. Collecting cicadas from a Hampton Inn parking lot is usually okay.
  • Suntan lotion and Bug Spray. I like insects, but ticks and mosquitos can turn cicada observation into a nightmare. Many researchers wear pyrethrum treated clothes (yes, bad for cats).
  • A flashlight.
  • Cicada Mania pins for folks I meet along the way.

What I don’t bring but should is one of John Cooley’s Cicada O Matic GPS Dataloggers. I have to make observations by hand.

Other than that, I follow the typical Power Vacation rules.

Maryland Part 1:

The first town I hit was Accident, Maryland (great name). There were sightings on the Cicadas @ UCONN map, and the name of the town was awesome, so I wanted to check it out. Unfortunately, I didn’t observe any cicadas there.

Route 68, West Virginia

Traveling west along Route 68, about half-way between the center of Bruceton Mills and Coopers Rock State Forest I started to hear pockets of M. cassini. I stopped at Coopers Rock, and at first, I was disappointed: I didn’t hear any cicadas from my car. Once I stopped my car and turned off the engine I could hear them: M. septendecim with their spooky sci-fi UFO chorus in the distance. It became obvious that the park had a healthy population of M. septendecim, with a smattering of M. cassini as well.

Morgantown, WV

Next, I arrived at Morgantown, WV. Some twitter friends had been posting cicada photos from there, so I thought it would be a good location to set up base and make observations for a few days. The hotel I chose had an excellent population of M. septedecim and cassini around it; so much so that the staff couldn’t keep up with unwanted cicada guests that littered their doorway, trampled by oblivious human guests.

My first day there I walked around the West Virginia University campus near the hospital, stadium & iHop. The sky was overcast and it was getting late in the afternoon, but it was clear that the campus and town had an abundance of periodical cicadas, and that I made a good choice in setting up camp there. At night, in my hotel parking lot, I was able to watch cicadas emerge as nymphs as transform into adults, which is always a highlight of an emergence for me.

WVU Core Arboretum

Core Arboretum is a large botanical garden devoted to trees (“arbor”) on the WVU campus. It was an excellent place to observe cicadas. I was able to observe all three species, the tiny but LOUD M. cassini, the larger & relatively docile M. septendecim, and the rarest of the species M. septendecula. Finding M. septendecula so early in my trip was a treat. Their clockwork/tambourine sound (at least that’s what I think they sound like) gave them away.

I met entomologists Matt Berger, who has contributed many cicada photos to this site over the years, and his colleague HereBeSpiders11 (twitter name). Awesome people. I met Zachariah Fowler, the director of the arboretum as well. Another awesome person.

Magicicada white eyes
A white-eyed Magicicada septendecim.

I was able to check off many of my cicada checklist items in Morgantown: I found a white-eyed cicada, I saw & heard all three species, and more.

Leaving West Virginia, Entering Ohio

M. cassini were plentiful along route 79 and 50 headed west towards Athens, Ohio. Along the way, I made a few stops and heard & observed some M. septendecim as well.

Athens, Ohio

Athens was another good location to stay and observe cicadas. The parks in the surrounding area had excellent cicada populations, and I had a rare chance to meet John Cooley of Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org).

My first day in Athens I spent at Dow Lake in Strouds Run State Park. There I met John Cooley who was there showing a German film crew the particulars of cicada behavior. Dow Lake had a healthy mix of LOUD M. cassini and M. septendecim, but the cassini definitely dominated. The highlight for me was not a cicada, but spotting a rat snake climbing down from an acacia tree where it was no-doubt snacking on cicadas.

Sells Park in Athens was a nice place to hear VERY LOUD M. cassini choruses, well into the high 80-90db mark. So loud that I limited my time there, and left after an hour.

Hocking Hills

Hocking Hills is an amazing park north of Athens than features a spectacular above-ground cave and many acres of forest filled with cicadas. Hocking Hills had a good population of all three species, and M. septendecula were unusually easy to find. They seem to have preferred areas where deciduous trees blended with evergreens, at least in the locations I found.

Vinton Furnace Experimental Forest

A Magicicada cassini chorus from the Experimental Forest:

A Magicicada chorus with audible M. septendecula from the Experimental Forest:

Vinton Furnace Experimental Forest is a forest curated to include as much biological diversity as possible. All three periodical cicada species make up part of that diversity. M. septendcula choruses were very easy to find. The forest was thrilling to visit — aside from the biting deer flies, it was exhilarating to see or hear so many species of insects, birds, and plants in one place. Also, thrilling were the winding one-lane dirt roads; I almost died a few times thanks to wild drivers out for a pretend Finland Rally race.

Back to Maryland

After an overnight stop back in Morgantown, WV, I headed back to Maryland to prove (or disprove) that periodical cicadas were there, and if I did find them, the extent of their population. It is important to show the limits of their population as researchers (John Cooley in particular) are interested in demonstrating that the Brood V population in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia & Maryland is distinct from the population in Virginia.

I’m happy to report that I did find periodical cicadas in Maryland. The populations were mostly the relatively quieter M. septendecim — the type you really have to stop the car & turn off the engine to be certain they’re there. I did find M. cassini as well, but M. septendecim dominated. The adorably named Friendsville and Selbysport had good populations, as did the hill above the Youghiogheny river overlook rest stop on I68. South of this area, I did not hear or see cicadas on Bear Creek Road, Rt 42, Rt 219 or Rt 495. It is possible there are pockets of cicadas deep in the woods and out of earshot in those areas, but it is clear there was no great population of periodical cicadas in those areas if any at all. I spoke to a chainsaw bear sculptor in Bittinger, which is not far from where the Appalachian Plateau ends & the Ridge and Valley area starts. I showed him a photo of a periodical cicada. He said he had never seen them in his life, and nor did he see them in Accident where he went to church. He did hear about them on the news, so he was aware of them.

Maryland

Pennsylvania, and home

After collecting cicada data and buying a chainsaw bear, I headed north into Pennsylvania. I stopped at a rest stop, enjoyed the last I would hear of Brood V, and headed back home.

More!

June 22, 2016

Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania Magicicada Emergence

Filed under: Brood V | Magicicada | Periodical — Tags: — Dan @ 9:12 pm

There was an unexpected* emergence of periodical cicadas in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania this spring. Experts believe it is a disjunct brood related to Brood XIV. Brood XIV is found in the area, according to entomologist and Pennsylvania-based periodical cicada mapper Marten Edwards, but perhaps not in the exact same specific locations. Brood II is also in the area but on the other side of the mountain. Although this group of cicadas emerged the same year as Brood V, it probably is not related (genetically & evolutionary), but that is TBD.

The terrain of the Jim Thorpe area is comprised of mountains & valleys belonging to the Appalachian Mountain system of the Eastern United States. I observed cicadas on mountainsides and in lower valley areas. They seemed most plentiful and gregarious on the edges of the forest, preferring small, young maple trees where they gathered, sang, paired off, mated and died. Although their numbers were lesser deep in the woods, I did find exit holes and exuvia there. The most interesting discovery was finding a fully sclerotized, but dead, adult cicada within an overturned teacup left in the shade of an old tree. I discovered a few “cicada chimneys”, vertical structures made of soil surrounding exit holes, under pine trees where the cicadas seemed to need to extra hight to get above the thick layer of pine needles that littered the forest floor.

The best populations seemed to be along the Lehigh Gorge Trail from its entrance on Main Street to the Lehigh Gorge, and north, up the mountain the Lehigh Gorge Trail circumscribes, all the way to Lehigh Gorge Drive. The trees along Route 903, starting at Old Pipeline Road and heading south, were loaded with active cicadas — so many, that it was hard to avoid their flying bodies as I drove towards downtown Jim Thorpe.

If you want to see them, go this weekend (June 24-26). They were plentiful in the Lehigh Gorge area:
Lehigh Gorge

The population seems to be entirely made up of Magicicada septendecim. No Magicicada cassini or septendecula were found (so far).

A Carolina Grasshopper (Dissosteira carolina) next to a “Locust” (Magicicada septendecim).
Grasshopper and Cicada
More photos from this emergence in the gallery.

Locals were calling them “Locusts” — sometimes I forget that’s what folks call them, but of course they’re really cicadas.

Sound files: all are Magicicada septendecim

A single call:

A Spectrogram of its call:

Magicicada septedecim spectrogram

Multiple males calling:

An extra-weird call around 11-12 seconds:

You can here some wing flicks in this one:

*Unexpected as cicada researchers were not expecting it, but locals probably knew about it.

Post script:

I found a scan of a news paper from 1880 (The Carbon advocate., March 06, 1880, Lehighton, Pa.) that mentions that “locusts” would emerge in the area in the summer. “Locust” is, of course, a common misnomer for cicada, the Carbon Advocate was the paper for the Mauch Chunk (Jim Thorpe) area, and 1880 was 8 x 17 years ago:

News Clipping

February 5, 2015

Visualizing all periodical cicada broods

Isn’t this a lovely picture (updated with colors sorted)?

All Broods

This image represents the combined range of all Magicicada periodical cicada broods, including the extinct Broods XI (last recorded in Connecticut) and XXI (last recorded in Florida).

To produce this image, I visited John Cooley’s Cicadas @ UCONN Cicada Geospacial Data Clearinghouse and downloaded the Shapefile of Magicicada broods. Then I used the computer program QGIS to change the Shapefile to a KML file, and then I opened the file in Google Earth. Credit goes to John for pulling the data together into the Shapefile.

I manually edited the KML file to try to give each Brood a different color.

An interesting area is Fredrick County, where 5 different broods seem to exist (or have existed) at once.
Fredrick County VA

Peach = Brood I
Green = Brood II
Purple = Brood V
Cyan = Brood X
Red = Brood XIV

It’s also interesting that four of the broods are separated by four years: X, XIV, I, V.

June 23, 2013

New York is still loaded with cicadas

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Periodical | Video — Tags: , — Dan @ 7:51 pm

New York cicadas If you want to see and hear the Brood II cicadas, play hookey this week, and head on up the Hudson Valley in New York State. DO IT! It’s your last chance until 2030 (unless you want to see Brood III and XXII next year).

Today I took an eight-hour road trip along the Hudson River in NY. I hit Palisades Interstate Park, Bear Mountain, Cold Springs, virtually every town along Rte 9G and 199, Germantown, Hudson, and Woodstock.

Cold Spring and Woodstock were a little disappointing, though their downtowns seemed like nice places to visit (no time for human fun when you’re tracking cicadas). The east side of the Hudson River was definitely more active than the west side, although I did hear cicada choruses along Interstate 87 between exit 18 and 16.

Here are my favorite locations. The first one is pure gold.

Rt 199
A rest stop for cars.
Rhinebeck NY 12572
41.972693,-73.915277
Loads of ‘decims and cassini. Cassini could be picked off the low lying trees like grapes. ‘Decims hugged trees by the 100’s. Best spot of the day.

130 Main street by the river.
Germantown, NY 12526
42.134975,-73.897069
Cassini and decim choruses. Decims and cassini on low vegetation.

400 New York 308
Rhinebeck, NY 12572
41.938882,-73.88215
Cassini and decim choruses. Decims in low lying trees.

Dutchess Mall, ironically near a big box hardware store that will remain nameless
Fishkill, NY
41.515125,-73.892328
Cassini and ‘decim choruses. ‘Decims in low lying trees. Very active and feisty.

Tiorati Brook Rd
Stony Point, NY 10980
41.252589,-74.055829
‘Decim choruses. ‘Decims in low lying trees.


Some video and audio from the New York emergence:

Periodical cicadas at a rest stop in Rhinebeck NY:

Magicicada septendecim in Stony Point NY:

Magicicada cassini Court II and III NY Brood II 2013:

June 11, 2013

Cicada Video of the Week

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Ovipositing | Periodical | Video — Tags: — Dan @ 4:18 am

Here’s some cicada video I shot over the weekend. Enjoy:

Magicicada trying to take a drink from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

Singing Magicicada septendecim from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

Magicicada septendecim ovipositing from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

Magicicada septendecim ovipositing from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

Close up of a tymbal of a Magicicada septendecim from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

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